Maro Engel scored pole position for the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai in Thursday afternoon’s qualifying session, leading a front-row lockout for previous-gen Mercedes-AMG GT3s.
Engel’s Toksport WRT Mercedes will lead the field alongside the Black Falcon car qualified by Jeroen Bleekemolen, but neither of them are the two brand-new 2020-spec Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos racing this weekend.
Engel shares the Toksport WRT entry with fellow factory driver Luca Stolz as well as Martin Konrad, Philip Ellis and Patrick Assenheimer, and posted a best time of 1:57.490.
Bleekemolen’s time in the No. 4 Black Falcon car was just 0.047 seconds slower, while third place went the way of Herberth Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.
HTP Winward Motorsport and MS7 by WRT will line up fourth and fifth, ahead of GT3 Am pole-sitter MP Motorsport with another previous-gen Mercedes-AMG GT3, starting sixth overall.
The two new Mercedes are SPS Automotive Performance and CP Racing’s cars, which will start from ninth in GT3 Pro and eighth in GT3 Am, respectively.
ST Racing picked up the GT4 class pole with its BMW M4 GT4 qualifed by Nick Wittmer and shared with Samantha Tan, John Boyd and Jon Miller.
The American team led a BMW lockout of the top four positions in class, with other cars from Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport and Century Motorsport.
In the Touring Car ranks, CWS Engineering scored pole for the second consecutive year with its Ginetta G55, while TCR class pole went to Lestrup Racing Team’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR DSG.
Night Practice will take place at 6 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET / 2 p.m. GMT) for an additional 90 minutes of running ahead of the race start on Friday afternoon.